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Episode 1820: The Forces Break In


Having a player play an obvious enemy character can be tricky. But it can also be a lot of fun with the right gaming group.

Roleplaying games have traditionally been cooperative ventures with the players forming an allied group, in conflict with whatever forces in the game world the GM sets against them. But there's no hard and fast requirement to make all games work this way.

Some of the earliest roleplaying game tournaments were essentially races through the same adventure played by multiple competing groups in parallel, with the winner being the group that did best in the adventure. You could do a similar thing with a single gaming group at one table, splitting them into two factions and having each one raid a dungeon for treasure, for example, simultaneously. The first team to reach the vampire lord's inner sanctum and loot it for treasure would do so, and the second team to arrive would find only the looted vault. Of course the first team would also face the most danger.

This is a little tricky to run logistically. One way would be to have each group in a different room, and the GM dash between rooms to keep them in synch in in-game time. Or you could do it virtually over a web platform.

The next level of competition is to have characters directly opposed to one another, such that they would be hostile if they encountered each other. This can lead to interesting tactical combat scenes. Of course there's the risk that some PCs will injure or kill others, so the group needs to be prepared for this and handle it suitably.

This sort of direct conflict is more likely to be handleable in a highly cinematic genre such as superheroes and supervillains, where the opposing teams can slug it out and not do any lasting damage, the adventure ending with either the villains in prison (from where they can break out ready for the next adventure), or the heroes in dire trouble and needing either to be rescued or to come up with some brilliant way of escaping to continue pursuit of the villains who have goten away with their enormous museum heist (for now).

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Not a bad plan going through the village. They'd probably try to defend themselves anyway, but going amongst the villagers means that the current group would be less likely to be focused on by the drop ship squads. It's also probably the poor light, but the villager in panel 4 looks like Bria Tharen from Butch Cassian and the Sundance Droid to me. Obviously it can't be the case since the last known location of Bria went up in a fireball engulfing 5% of the planet. Still, maybe it's her daughter. It probably won't come up, but that'd be a neat detail for the GM to throw in if he's asked about it.

Interesting to note that the GM used "armoured troopers" instead of "clone troopers"; I bet that's some evidence for the stormtroopers no longer being purely clones. It's been 30 years since the previous game, and the clone army was practically on an accelerated growth from the moment they were decanted/born. Unless the First Order has the Kamino clone facilities producing more clones, with the flaws already known about from Jango dying (namely the very high suggestibility), these have to be just generic recruits of some kind. That'd make it easy to have a PC as a trooper and have someone that doesn't look like Jango or Boba.

And of course, there's some complaints already from Annie playing an enemy character, or at least, one that's currently in the process of trying to kill the other players with their in-character compatriots. This sounds like Pete talking at the moment; he's always leaned more towards the player centric morality from what I've read so Pete seems like the type to want to be the bad guys. Likely in the hopes of climbing the ranks to overtake the First Order, or at least get a replacement for his dreadnought. I hope Annie's got a good explanation on hand to assuage the concerns. Going by the first comic though, she's confident that things will work out. I've never been that confident in trying to deceive other players myself; I tend towards the engineer/sciencey types which don't do well with the charisma/interpersonal skills as I can't pull off the deceptions that make for great roleplaying.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Oh god, Annie's in the first dropship. This will take a moment, have to get over my laughter...

Alright, we now have the answer to the unknown from the first strip. Annie is once again playing a complex character with deep hidden reasons for their actions; it is not Sally being silly.

And, the GM clearly was not expecting the PCs to just up and run. Hinting that they could stay and help defend the community... Nope.

"Why didn't you tell me that was an option". Now, trying to figure out who said that. It's not pointing to any of the characters on-screen. So, I'm assuming that it's one of the players not yet on the scene. That means Sally or Pete. Clearly, this is Pete. Sally wouldn't think that way, would she?

... How much has this group changed her growing up? [Ed: Note our commentators don't get to see the transcript.]


Poe: C’mon, Corey!
BB-8: BB-8.
BB-8: We race through the village to the ship.
GM: Okay, uh... the villagers pull out weapons and dig in to defend the community.
[SFX]: ch-chunk {a villager cocking a blast shotgun}
GM: The drop ships unload squads of armoured troopers. They fan out to assault the village.
[SFX]: pssshhhh... {loading ramp descends and troopers race out}
Finn: Yaah! Eat dust, you grubby Resistance sympathising scum!!
[SFX]: Pow! Pow!
Pete: Wait. Annie’s a trooper??
[SFX]: Pow! Pow!
Finn: Die, you filthy villagers!
[SFX]: Pow! Pow!
GM: Is there a problem?
Pete: Why didn’t you tell me that was an option?!

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Published: Tuesday, 31 March, 2020; 03:11:12 PDT.
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